The Capable Wife in Relation to Her Husband
Dr. Joe Temple


Will you open your Bibles, please, to Proverbs, chapter 31. For the sake of refreshing our own minds, let us read together the passage beginning with verse 10:

Proverbs 31

10Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

The Capable Woman

You will recall that we said that this passage of Scripture has a far deeper meaning than is usually associated with it when it is read at funeral services or on Mothers' Day. It describes the ideal wife whose price is far above rubies. We pointed out to you that the word “virtuous” can be translated “capable”; and then we offered to you some other words beginning with the same letter for the sake of alliteration.

We said that this capable woman is one who cultivates her own spiritual life, as described in verses 15, l7, and 25. We suggested that this woman is one who is conscious of her personal appearance, as described in verse 22. We suggested that this capable woman is one who cares adequately for her own household, as described in verse 27.

The Conservative Woman

We said that verse 16 reveals that she is a woman who conserves her time and energy; she does not take on too much. We would like to re-emphasize that she does not take on too much outside activity even in the name of the Lord. Some Christian homes are suffering because mothers are teaching too many Bible classes. Now, don't go out of here and say that I said you should not teach a Bible class. Just be sure you have time before you take on one, and be sure that you have time before you take on another. “Oh, I have plenty of time. My children know how to take care of themselves.” They are not supposed to take care of themselves. You are supposed to take care of them.

We discovered in verse 26 that this capable woman will be calm in trying circumstances, and we found in verse 20 that even though she is busy with all the things suggested, she is considerate of those who are less fortunate than she is.

A Trustworthy Wife

Now the things we did not get to, and which we will mention briefly so the story will be complete, are all related to her relationship to her husband. We did not take these things in the order in which the verses are listed, but in the order in which we feel they should be emphasized.

Will you look at verse 11, please, and notice one relationship to her husband which is exceedingly important:

Proverbs 31

11The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

For the sake of alliteration, I would suggest to you that she is his confidante. Did you notice what the King James version says: “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.” The Amplified version puts it “The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently, and relies and believes in her safely.” Women, can your husbands trust you? I am not talking about whether you are going to be faithful to your husband or not. Can he confide in you and know that it will die with you? Can he tell you his weaknesses that he has never told anyone else and know that he will not be lowered in your estimation, and know that you will never tell those weaknesses to anyone else? Can he?

Keeping Confidences

Now, there may be times when problems will arise, and you may need to go to your Pastor to discuss a very confidential thing about the home relationship because it is too big a problem for you. There may be a time when you will need to go to some qualified person and entrust a confidence that you won't express to anyone else; but, please, if your husband confides in you, don't confide in your neighbors what he has confided in you. Don't make him feel uncomfortable when he is out in public because of snide remarks that he knows are based upon that confidence expressed in what he now considers a moment of weakness; if he had known you would respond in the manner in which you did, he never would have told you. My wife knows things about me that no other living person knows. I can safely trust in her. Be that kind of wife.

The Paraphrases version says, “Her husband can trust her, and she will richly satisfy his needs.” That has reference, of course, to the fact that he will have no need of spoil, and that is involved in the literal meaning of the words. The reason I offer you these translations is that we do not have time to take each word in the original and analyze it.

Satisfying Needs

Did you notice the last part of this statement: “She will richly satisfy his needs.” When a woman comes to me and tells me that her husband has found someone else in whom he is interested, before I pass final judgment or give the final advice, I do a little probing to know why. Women, are you so richly satisfying the needs of your husband that he does not need anyone else or anything else? Although I am not excluding his sexual needs, I am not thinking of those primarily. Do you know that adultery quite often does not begin with passion? It begins with loneliness; the husband does not have a confidante in his wife. Quite often, extra-marital sexual activity is a side issue. It just happens because two people are thrown together. The reason they were thrown together is that the wife was not capable. She was not the confidante that she needed to be.

Being a Comfort

Notice verse 121:

Proverbs 31

12She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Again for the sake of alliteration, we suggest the word “comfort”; she is his confidante, and she is a comfort to him. The Paraphrased version says, “She will not hinder, but she will help him all the days of her life.” How many of you hinder your husbands? God meant that you should be a help, fit for him.

Now, I want to ask these questions. I ask them merely that we may search our hearts together. One precious lady came to me during the conference and said, “What you have said makes me appreciate my husband,” and I was glad to hear that. What she was saying was, “What you are saying that a husband ought to be, my husband is.” Some of the men appreciate their wives because God has given them this kind of wife. but here is something to consider: Are you hindering or helping? The Amplified translation says, “She will comfort, encourage, and do him good as long as there is life within her.” Have you learned to comfort your husband?

Do you know why some men have not left their mothers and cleaved unto their wives? The psychiatrists call it a mother complex. It is real. It may be very easy for you to say to your husband, “Why don't you grow up?” He ought to, but maybe he hasn't, and you are not going to make him grow up overnight. He may want to put his head on your shoulder and do nothing more than have you say, “Dear, I know it is hard. I know it is hard.” He may want, if you are sitting in the chair, to sit on the footstool and put his head in your lap, and have you do nothing more than run your fingers through his hair. You may not say anything at all; if you do say anything, say, “Honey, I know it is rough and I am sorry.”

You say, “Why, my husband is a man. He doens't need anything like that.” He may be too much of a man to admit that he needs it, but he does. Learn to comfort your husband and learn to encourage him. You would be surprised what your husband will do with a word of encouragement from you.

Two Personal Illustrations

Many, many times I have stepped from the pulpit, feeling as though the entire period of time was wasted, feeling as though I had not got through at all. You don't have that problem, I am sure, but many times I have felt that way. Maybe my wife sensed it. She would say to me, “Honey, I never heard you preach better in all your life than you preached this morning.” My, what a lift it was. Now, I have always wondered whether maybe she sensed my discouragement and she said that even though she did not believe it. Even if she did, I think the Blood can take care of such white lies. Oh, what a lift. I have found strength to go on into the pulpit because she believed in me.

I don't know how many times I have said to my wife, “Honey, So-and-so said such-and-such to me today,” and I have waited, almost with bated breath, to hear what she would say. If she had said, “Honey, he is exactly right. It is just as he said,” I think I would have been discouraged enough to close my Bible and never open it again. But always she has had the right thing to say. Sometimes she says, “Now, honey, you know him. You know the Lord Himself couldn't please him.” Maybe he is right and she knows he is right, but she has the right word of encouragement. Believe me, you don't need to humble your husband; there will be enough people to do that. You encourage him.

Contributing to His Success

One last word, and this is in verse 23:

Proverbs 31

23Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

If we want a word, I would say that this capable woman is not only her husband's confidnate, she not only comforts him, but she contributes to his success. For this passage of Scripture says that her husband is known in the gates when he sitteth among the elders of the land. The Paraphrased version brings it up-to-date and says, “Her husband becoems a distinguished person.” That is putting the emphasis where it belongs. He does not sit with the elders in the gates because he has it; he sits with the elders in the gates because she has it. She contributes to his success.

I talked with a lady some weeks ago who said, “I couldn't care less about being married.” That usually indicates to me that they want to be married awfully bad. “I couldn't care less about it; I am a career woman.” I don't always say it, and I didn't that day, but I always think, “I don't know of a greater career in the world for a woman than her husband. It is the greatest career you can pursue.”

Shall we bow our heads together for prayer:

Thank you, Father, for this time together. Minister the Word to

our hearts in the manner in which it is needed, and if anything

has been said today that is non-essential, cause it to fade from

our minds, and the wheat of the Word to remain. For we pray in

Jesus' name. Amen.

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